Late last month, the Court of Appeals of the State of California heard and ruled on a case stemming from a man being hit by a car near a church parking lot. The man was attending a function at the church and was crossing a five-lane road to get to the church from an overflow parking lot. The plaintiff and his wife sued the church for several causes of action, including loss of consortium and negligence. They alleged that the church was negligent because it set up an overflow parking lot in a place where individuals needed to cross a busy road.
The church moved for summary judgment, claiming that it did not owe the man a duty because it was not in control of the public road where the man was injured. However, the man appealed, arguing that the location of the injury is not dispositive and that the church did not meet its burden to show that no material fact existed regarding the duty it owed him. The appellate court reversed this finding. Specifically, the court took into consideration the location of the overflow lot, and it concluded that the church’s invitees who parked there were exposed to an unreasonable risk of injury. The court ultimately held that the church could be held liable for the man’s injuries.
New Mexico Premises Liability for Adjacent Properties
Generally, individuals who own or are in possession of property or land have a duty to keep their property or premises safe for visitors, guests, and occupiers of their land. If a person is injured on the land, the landowner may be held liable for the injuries the victim sustained. When the injury occurs on the land, it may be a bit easier for a plaintiff to pursue the claim, but even in those cases landowners will often try everything to thwart responsibility.